Parliament Agenda: ALDE priorities for the week of 26 March 2012

Jennifer Baker is joined by Neil Corlett, ALDE Spokesperson, to discuss the EU Agenda for this week in the latest issue of ‘previEUws’.

First point on the agenda is the Euro crisis. Long-term solutions seem to be necessary as the injections by the European Central Bank, responsible for the current upheaval on the markets, are deemed not to be sustainable. Corlett suggests the German European Redemption Fund proposal as a possible solution, which essentially entails the pooling of European debts exceeding the 60%-level. The outcome is more sustainable debts rates facilitated by European discipline and solidarity. Where bail-out funds depend on on taxpayer’s money, the proposed redemption fund instead would divert risks and costs to bondholders.

The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament will take a vote on the Passenger Name Record this week, which entails the exchange of EU airline passenger data with US authorities. American authorities introduced the use of these data for anti-terrorism purposes quickly after 9/11. But attempts to acquire European data have failed up to this point, as they were found to be in breach with EU data protection law. The Commission negotiated an agreement with US authorities in 2004, but it was subsequently rejected by the European Parliament. Now the Commission puts a new proposal up for vote, nevertheless it is still surrounded by strong doubts concerning the proportionality, purpose and transparency of the act. Members of Parliament are going to have a tough vote since they have to choose between the fight against terrorism and data privacy, as it is not possible to renegotiate the current agreement with the Americans.

Later this week, the European Citizens’ Initiative comes into action. Under this proposal citizens can introduce initiatives at the EU level if they manage to find the backing of one million EU citizens coming for at least seven different nationalities. After an initiative reaches this minimal level of support, it will be discussed in the European Parliament and the European Commission will respond to it. Corlett indicates that such initiatives in potential could result in EU legislation.

Final point of discussion is the static situation in Syria. The international community remains reluctant to interfere and Russia still blocks actions, although they seem to be prepared to support a cease-fire. Corlett advocates that the international community needs to reach agreement with the Arabic Community and UN on how to bring the conflict to an end. With the Barcelona Process and Mediterranean partnerships in mind the European Union should capitalize on the democratic movements in the Middle-East and update its policies, according to the ALDE spokesman.

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